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Students who don't abstain from alcohol should know the risks, CU officials say.
Students who don’t abstain from alcohol should know the risks, CU officials say.

Campus resources

Wardenburg Health Center

Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


Community Health, Division of Wardenburg

UMC 411

Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


Counseling and Psychiatric Services

Center for Community S440

Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


Wardenburg Health Center

Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Join a club

CU Sober Social Club: A student group at CU dedicated to supporting sobriety and well-being for the campus community.

CU activities: A great way to address substance abuse is to get involved in or attend fun and interesting happenings. By doing so you can develop a needed sense of belonging. There are many events and recreational opportunities offered on the CU-Boulder campus. Be sure to explore your options for being part of the campus community.


Students face myriad choices during their time at CU-Boulder. Along with what classes to take and which extracurricular groups to join, students also can choose to abstain from alcohol — and many do.

CU officials estimate that a third of new students drink only a little or not at all. And, according to the National College Health Assessment, which is administered every two years, 17 percent of CU students in 2013 reported never using alcohol.

The CU Police Department also saw a 47 percent drop in minor-in-possession tickets between 2013 and 2014 and a 37 percent drop in the number of referrals to addiction recovery centers.

“A lot of people here don’t use drugs or alcohol or, the people who do use, do so really moderately,” said Lee Scriggins, of Community Health at CU’s Wardenburg Health Center. “But if students run into trouble, we’ll help them.”

Students who don’t abstain, she said, should know the risks.

Alcohol abuse, toxicity

The affects of mass consumption of beer and liquor are not always confined to a drinker’s body.

“Alcohol abuse is the single most dangerous public health hazard on campus,” Donald Misch, senior assistant vice chancellor for health and wellness at CU, has said.

“If you look at the extent that alcohol is involved in issues like sexual assaults, physical assaults, property damage, unprotected sex and lower grades, the odds are good that alcohol abuse will get you into trouble.”

Even if you don’t drink, keep an eye on your friends at parties. Knowing how to interpret alcohol toxicity, officials said, is important for recognizing when someone has had too much.

The signs of alcohol toxicity are indicators that the ill health effects of drinking are taking place: Vomiting while passed out, developing pale and bluish or cold and clammy skin and slowed breathing are just a few signs of alcohol overindulgence.

If you think someone has alcohol toxicity, stay with the person and call 911. You might be saving a life.

Recovery campus

Given the many negative consequences of heavy drinking and dependence, the university is committed to helping people who want to recover, CU officials said.

The newest resource for students bouncing back and pursuing an education is a “recovery campus” modeled after programs offered by Texas Tech and approximately 30 other institutions across the country.

The CU Collegiate Recovery Center, located at the UMC, “provides support for those in recovery from alcohol or drug use disorders and other addictive behaviors, and a home for the sober community.”

The center provides a community lounge, professional support staff and space for support groups, study groups and meetings.


In addition to negative short- and long-term effects on the body, alcohol abuse can affect the mind, too. Drinking can exacerbate existing mental health issues, leading to even more problems.

Depression, homesickness and anxiety all can be exacerbated by substance use, CU officials said.

One on-campus resource for students dealing with substance abuse is Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS). CAPS offers up to six free sessions of individual counseling per academic year, as well as a wide range of group therapy options.

Because counseling might be intimidating, talking to someone like a friend, resident assistant or staff member also can be a good first step for determining whether you have a problem and deciding to pursue professional help.